My mom always made our birthday cakes. She was not a professional baker. She didn’t have special equipment or oodles of decorating supplies. She didn’t throw us lavish birthday parties with bounce houses, entertainers, or caterers either. She didn’t worry about what the neighbors thought of her cakes or parties nor did she worry about if our birthday parties were stellar enough to be impressive to onlookers. It wasn’t about impressing others. It was about OUR happiness. Her cakes were a tiny expression of her love for us, not a spectacle.
I’ve carried on that tradition of making simple, homemade cakes for my little kiddos. Each time a birthday rolls around they know they get to choose what cake they’ll have. They are simple, created with very few supplies, and filled up to the brim with love whether or not they turn out perfectly.
I’m going to give you a peek of what a non-professional, non-Pinteresting cakes that certainly don’t keep up with the Jones’ look like at our house. Hope you enjoy this gallery of our homemade birthday cakes.
Here’s Lightning McQueen. We froze the cake after baking it so we could use a knife to carve the shape. We also like to use gel food coloring instead of liquid so that the colors are bolder.
One year my son asked for a cookie cake. I think he liked the idea of piling 2 desserts together. I just baked a bundt cake and put Oreos around the outside edges. Then I baked a flat pan of chocolate chip cookie dough and used letter cookie cutters to cut out his name from chocolate chip cookies.
I loved this little ladybug cake I made for my daughter. Marshmallow eyes, tootsie roll antennae, and junior mint spots. The head was just made from a cupcake.
My kids don’t always ask for simply-themed, traditional cakes. This year my son wanted a lake and boats and cars and planes. . . so that’s what he got. The trees are wooden trees from his toy train set, and the cars and boats and planes are micro-machines.
We use toys frequently on our cakes. We just run them through the dishwasher first. Here’s Ariel.
This Ninjago cake was the only one I’ve ever made fondant for. I liked the way it turned out, but it was harder than most of our cakes. The directions for it are here.
This little panda bear made with Ho-Ho’s and Junior Mint eyes is one my favorites.
This princess castle uses frosted ice cream cones for the towers.
It seems that every time we make a princess cake these toys come in handy! Here they are on a heart cake.
Not all of our cakes turn out quite as planned. My husband made Raggedy Anne’s eyes a little large, so he jokingly added some black licorice strings and turned them into sunglasses. Before the party we removed them and fixed it, but the sunglasses version still makes us laugh.
My daughter wanted an art party one year, so we created this simple painter’s palette cake with real paintbrushes sticking out the top.
We baked the cakes in a steep sided bowl, froze it, and then carved the skirt before sticking the Barbie doll in the top for my daughter’s Barbie princess cake.
This Minecraft cake was crafted from chocolate cake with green coconut grass, rice krispie treats, and blue Jell-O.
Twinkie Minions in a swimming pool lined with Kit Kats.
A cute little tugboat cake. Chug! Chug!
The baseballs were created using Hostess snowballs.
This soccer ball was made by baking two cakes in two round bowls, then stacking them with the flat sides together.
Many of our cakes aren’t quite so 3-D though. This Spiderman cake used Spidey rings. We just drew the web on using frosting and let the words be part of the web.
Long ago my son asked for an American Dragon cake. I couldn’t find any toys or anything as a cake topper, so I just looked at how to draw tutorials and drew the boy and the dragon using frosting.
This was another of those random requests: “I want Bob and Larry at the lake, Mom!” So we tried to oblige, again using a how to draw tutorial for the Veggie Tales characters.
Train cakes are a favorite at our house. All of our kids have chosen a train cake at least once. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the cars being filled with candy.
We even made one for Uncle Ryan when he was visiting us for his 26th birthday! Train cakes were a staple from our childhood, so even if my brother was turning 26, it brought back floods of great cake memories.
This may just be my very favorite cake. We used a real rubber ducky, marshmallow knobs, and a giant tootsie roll faucet.
I’ll keep adding to our gallery as we keep celebrating birthdays. Like I said, they aren’t perfection, but simple homemade cakes are a tradition we love.
What birthday traditions do you keep in your family? Check out our Holidayopedia for lots more fun party and celebrating ideas around the year.